International -- Readers Report
DON'T BLOW THE WHISTLE ON SOCCER YET (int'l edition)
No one can argue with the difficulties of establishing a soccer league or with some of the nagging issues pressing its organizers ("A crucial season for U.S. pro soccer," Sports Business, Mar. 23). I would suggest, however, that you overlook certain critical issues. The growth in the soccer industry, financially as well as participatory, has been exponential. Fifteen years ago, who would have thought that major firms such as Nike, AT&T, Honda, Pepsi, and MasterCard would support a fledgling league?
Second, the $40 million in losses were well below initial projections. But revenues are slowly trickling in. The deal with ABC cannot be underestimated, nor can the growth in licensing revenues. Finally, there is substantial support for the sport. An overwhelming number of children play soccer; there is more coverage of the sport on TV; and there is a business plan, albeit flawed, designed to build slowly but soundly.
Paul Marc Oliu